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Fermi's Fallacy

Robert S. Wilson is the author of The Quiet, the Empire of Blood dystopian vampire series, the Lifeline cyberpunk/noir series, and the dark fiction collection Where all Light Is Left to Die. He is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor of Blood Type: An Anthology of Vampire SF on the Cutting Edge, a co-editor of Horror for Good: A Charitable Anthology and Nightscapes: Volume 1, and lives in Middle Tennessee with his family, a silly obnoxious dog, and a few psychotic cats skilled in the martial arts.

Robert's short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines including Darkfuse Magazine, Nameless Digest, Gothic Lovecraft, and more. His Lifeline cyberpunk/noir novella Exit Reality was chosen as one of e-thriller.com's Thrillers of the Month in July 2013.

He is currently working hard to finish a number of novels and novellas all at once like a blind juggler given knives and led into oncoming traffic. Learn more at shiningincrimson.com.

Fermi's Paradox proposes that, if aliens exist, after billions of years of evolution throughout the Universe, conquering species should have spread from star to star to the point of saturation, leaving ample evidence for us to find, yet there is none.
36 years, 7 months, and 10 days into the first manned voyage to Alpha Centauri B with another 20 years to go, I can confirm with confidence that Enrico Fermi was a smug idiot.
First of all what an incredibly presumptuous idea. In a dream universe where near light speed isn't the fastest anything other than light can hope to travel, maybe Fermi would've been onto something but the one we live in'? Ha!
I don't mean to sound bitter or anything. I was ecstatic to be a part of the first human interstellar mission. Hell, I was one of the first people in line. Let's just say my perspective has broadened a bit since I left.
Ever read a really really big book and about two-thirds in just suddenly decide that's it, I tried, I'm done, time to move on? Well that's me, only I've been reading this book for three decades now and the anticipation has devolved into something bordering on madness.
So when I woke up today (Ha! What in God's name is a day anymore without The Sun?!) I switched the main oxygen line with the outgoing carbon dioxide and just a little while later it all worked itself out nicely. I tried, I'm done, time to move on....
As I write this, the rest of the crew lay in heaps throughout the ship. The oxygen tank I secured for myself still has about six hours of air. I suited up and stepped out into the endless black where, as soon as my oxygen runs out, I'll soon quickly suffocate to death.
Three hours of oxygen later and I'm floating here in the void between the stars and, staring at the starship that cost our little blue dot a hundred billion dollars, a hundred thousand man hours, I wonder: will they ever rename Fermi's Paradox to Fermi's Fallacy?
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Author Comments

I can probably think of a hundred reasons why Fermi's Paradox is utter hogwash (in my opinion, of course). The sheer distances between stars, the likelihood that life is scattered and probably mostly non-intelligent, the fact that the need for water is still such a giant dilemma even to get to somewhere as close as Mars. Perhaps that's pessimistic as far as interstellar travel goes... So be it. I'd be far more excited to know that intelligent life exists elsewhere that we'll never get to meet than to be able to travel the stars and find ourselves completely alone.

- Robert S. Wilson
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